Frequently asked questions

  • I’ve found a bird on my lawn. What should I do?

    If the bird is injured, please bring them to our centre as soon as possible.

    If the bird is hopping around awkwardly on the ground, crying for food, and does not have fully developed feathers, they may be a fledgling - a young bird who has left the nest but may not yet be able to fly. If the fledgling appears healthy, is not in immediate danger, and the parents are around (you may need to observe the area consistently for up to an hour), then it is best to leave the fledgling where they are - or carefully place them in a nearby bush. If there is no sign of the parents, or if the fledgling appears to be sick or injured, then please bring them to our centre as soon as possible.

    Place a towel in a box and make some air holes so that there is sufficient ventilation. Place the bird in the box and bring them to our centre during our opening hours.

    For further information about fledglings, including how to recognise them and when to intervene, please take a look at our Facebook post, what to do if you see a fledgling.

  • What are your opening hours?

    We are currently operating on reduced hours due to COVID-19. We are accepting phone queries every day from 8am-4pm, and contactless bird drop-offs twice daily, from 10-11am and 2-3pm.

    Under normal circumstances, we are open every day from 8am to 4pm, except:
    Christmas Day (25 December)
    Boxing Day (26 December)
    New Year's Day (1 January)
    the day after New Year's Day (2 January)

  • What is your address?

    74 Avonleigh Road, Green Bay, Auckland 0604. You can find us on Google Maps.

  • Do I need an appointment to bring a bird to your centre?

    You do not need to make an appointment - please just bring the bird to us during our opening hours.

    We are currently operating on reduced hours due to COVID-19. We are accepting phone queries every day from 8am-4pm, and contactless bird drop-offs twice daily, from 10-11am and 2-3pm.

    Under normal circumstances, we are open every day from 8am to 4pm, except:
    Christmas Day (25 December)
    Boxing Day (26 December)
    New Year's Day (1 January)
    the day after New Year's Day (2 January)

  • Do I need to pay a fee when I bring a bird to your centre?

    We provide a free service to the public. However, as we do not receive government support and rely entirely on donations, we kindly request a voluntary donation towards the care of the bird.

    Your donation is very much appreciated and will enable us to provide veterinary care and support for all birds brought to our hospital.

    You can donate in person when you drop off the bird or online.

  • I’ve put an injured bird into a box. What can I feed them?

    Please do not feed the bird anything. Do not place water in the box as it may tip over, wetting the bird and putting it at risk of hypothermia.

    Bring the bird to us as soon as possible so that we can provide prompt veterinary care. If the bird requires urgent medical attention and we are closed, we recommend taking the bird to an after-hours veterinary clinic.

     

  • My cat caught a bird. The bird is still alive but doesn’t seem hurt or injured. What should I do?

    All birds caught by cats need to be checked over by a veterinarian and will need antibiotics - even if there is no obvious sign of injury. The bird may have internal injuries and even a tiny scratch from a cat can cause a life-threatening infection.

    Place the bird in a ventilated box with a soft towel and bring them to our centre as soon as possible. Please tell us that the bird was caught by a cat. This information is important as it helps us to provide the correct treatment.

    For more information, take a look at our Facebook post about cat interactions with birds.

  • I saw a bird with an injury but am unable to capture them. What should I do?

    If possible, ask your family, friends, neighbours, or a passerby for help. Alternatively, you can contact your nearest SPCA centre for assistance.

  • There is an injured bird in the park. Can you come and get them?

    Unfortunately not - we are a small team and we do not have the resources to provide a collection service.

    If possible, please ask your family, friends, or passersby for help. Alternatively, you can send the bird to us during our opening hours in a taxi or Uber, take the bird to your nearest veterinary clinic, or contact your nearest SPCA centre.

  • I have an injured bird in a box. Your centre is closed. What can I do?

    If the bird requires urgent medical attention, we recommend taking them to an after-hours veterinary clinic.

    If the bird is stable, you can keep them overnight until we are open. Place a towel in a box and make some air holes so that there is sufficient ventilation. Leave the box in a quiet, dark, and warm place overnight.

    Do not feed the bird. You can offer a small amount of water in a dish, but don't leave water in the box as it may tip over, wetting the bird and putting it at risk of hypothermia.

    Keep voices low and ensure you keep any pets away from the bird.

    Please bring the bird to our centre during our opening hours the next day.

    For more information, take a look at our Facebook post about after-hours care.

     

  • What should I do if I need to keep the bird overnight?

    Place a towel in a box and make some air holes so that there is sufficient ventilation. Place the bird in the box and leave it in a quiet, dark, and warm place overnight.

    Do not feed the bird. You can offer a small amount of water in a dish, but don't leave water in the box as it may tip over, wetting the bird and putting it at risk of hypothermia.

    Keep voices low and ensure you keep any pets away from the bird.

    Please bring the bird to our centre during our opening hours the next day.

    For more information, watch our video what to do when you find a bird, or take a look at our Facebook post about after-hours care.

  • Can I come and collect the bird I rescued so that I can release them?

    If you wish to release the bird, we can make a note on your file. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to release the bird yourself - this will depend on the species of the bird and other considerations.

    Some territorial birds such as juvenile tūī cannot be released where they were found as they will be attacked by other tūī already residing in that area. Other birds, such as tītī (Cook’s petrel), require specialised habitats or conditions.

  • If the bird I rescued is not releasable can I keep them as a pet?

    No, you cannot keep a wild bird as a pet. This would not be in the best interests of the bird and, depending on the species, may constitute an offence under the Wildlife Act 1953.

  • Do you release birds to a carer if they can’t be released into the wild?

    In general, we will only release birds to a carer when the bird is a domesticated species, e.g. a chicken, goose or Muscovy duck. If a situation arises where a native bird is unable to be released, we will work with the Department of Conservation and other organisations to ensure the best outcome for the bird.

  • Can you return the bird to me once you’ve treated them?

    Unfortunately, no. All birds brought to the centre are surrendered into our care.

  • Will the bird I rescued be euthanised?

    Euthanasia is never our first option. During the initial examination, the veterinarian will determine whether the bird is suffering. If the root cause of the bird's pain is untreatable, or if they have a serious injury that would compromise their survival in the wild, then the most humane decision may be to euthanise the bird. This decision is never taken lightly as we want to give all wild birds a second chance at life.

  • If the bird I rescued dies at the rehabilitation centre, can I take them home and bury them?

    Unfortunately, no - all birds brought into our rehabilitation centre are surrendered into our care. We will ensure that the bird's remains are handled appropriately.

  • My neighbours are feeding bread to ducks. How can I stop the ducks coming onto my property and soiling my garden?

    Encourage your neighbours not to feed the ducks if you can, and the ducks will likely migrate elsewhere.

    Alternatively, you might wish to consider installing sensor sprinklers on your property or gently using a water hose to deter them.

  • I feed the birds but I want them to go away because they are leaving a mess on my roof and property. How do I make them leave?

    Feeding wild birds will encourage them to stay on your property and, in many cases, can create a risk of disease transmission. If you want these birds to leave your property, you will need to stop feeding them.

    Please remember that wild birds are an important part of the ecosystem, many play an important role as plant pollinators or seed dispersers, as well as important cultural and social roles.

  • I have birds outside my house making a noise. Can you come and pick them up and put them somewhere else?

    No, we are a wildlife rehabilitation centre and do not offer this service.

    Wild birds are an important part of the ecosystem. They help maintain sustainable population levels of their prey and predator species and, after death, provide food for scavengers and decomposers.

    Many birds play an important role as plant pollinators or seed dispersers. For example, kererū are essential for the survival of forest ecosystems – they are the only birds in Aotearoa who can disperse the seeds of large-fruited native trees such as karaka.

    Birds also play important cultural and social roles, are taonga for Māori and others, and bring joy to many people’s lives. They appear in literature, art, and mythology worldwide. Birdsong enriches the outdoors and bird-watching is one of the fastest-growing recreational activities.

    Depending on the situation and species of bird, it may be appropriate to contact your local Council office for advice.

  • I don’t want my pet bird anymore. Can you take them?

    No, we are a wildlife rehabilitation centre and are unable to accept pet birds due to risk of disease transmission to wild birds.

    If you find a lost or abandoned pet bird, please contact your nearest SPCA centre.

     

  • Do you accept roosters?

    No, we are not permitted to accept roosters due to Council regulations.

    Please contact The Animal Sanctuary for advice.

  • I would like to come and have a look around. Can I come in now?

    Unfortunately, no, we are not open to the public. Our rehabilitation centre houses sick and injured birds who need a stress free environment to support their recovery and give them the best chance of release into the wild.

  • What items are you needing for donation? Where do I buy them?

    Our wish list can be found here. Most of these items can be found at your local supermarket.

    If you wish to donate something specific, please call us for supplier details.

  • How old do I have to be to volunteer?

    To volunteer at the rehabilitation centre, you must be 18 years of age or older.

    If you are under 18, there are many ways you can support our work, learn about wild birds, and help protect their habitats. For example, depending on your age, you could:

    • organise or participate in a beach or river clean-up
    • plant native trees
    • participate in weed removal, trapping, and ecosystem restoration activities
    • learn about the cultural significance of native bird species for Māori
    • fundraise for BirdCare Aotearoa
    • organise a bird-themed event at your school
    • start an environmental protection group at your school
    • get creative - create a bird-inspired story, poem, dance, or artwork
    • learn about your favourite wild birds and the threats they face
    • share your knowledge about birds with your whānau and friends - and inspire them to learn about, connect with, and take action to protect birds
    • explore and connect with nature - go bird-watching at the beach, in the bush, or in your own backyard
    • keep a nature journal with observations, photographs or sketches of birds
  • Do you take hedgehogs and other non-avian species?

    No, we are a bird rehabilitation centre and only accept wild birds.

    Please contact your nearest SPCA centre or veterinary clinic for advice.

  • I’ve found a bird caught in a parapara tree. What should I do?

    Any bird caught in parapara needs immediate attention, especially fantails or grey warblers as they can't go long periods without food.

    Do not cut the bird's feathers. Cut off the branch/twig and bring the bird into us (no need to phone first), to your nearest bird rescue centre or, if outside our opening hours, to your nearest after-hours veterinary clinic.

    The tree does not need to be cut down or destroyed. Cut the sticky pods off the tree, collect them off the ground, and place them in a bag. Alternatively, remove the pods from the tree after flowering, or cover the whole tree in bird netting during flowering.

    Garden centres sell these trees as ornamental garden/house plants, but they generally don't display warnings about the possible dangers to wildlife. Please share your knowledge about the impact of these trees on wild birds. Raising awareness may help others make an informed decision as to an appropriate place to plant these trees.